Closing Racial Equity Gaps Through Online Teaching of Introductory Linguistics


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Modern Languages and Cultures


While it is common for career linguists to trade anecdotes about undergraduate courses that inspired their interest in language studies, very little is known about how the educational trajectory of linguists impacts their success. This project addresses this lacuna with attention to racial disparities in student achievement at Santa Monica College; in previous semesters, the course passing rate in introductory linguistics has been severely stratified by racial group, which mirrors national disparities in linguistics enrollments and undergraduate majors. Across the United States, white students are awarded the majority, at 34.1%, of linguistics Bachelor’s degrees. With student researchers, this project will gather data from current students and career linguists, particularly Black and Latinx participants. Results will inform curricular improvements, bring greater visibility to linguistics at two-year institutions, and offer autoethnographic insights on the online teaching of linguistics.